Doctor Who RPG: Torchwood Series 3

On the occasion of completing reviews on Torchwood's third series, I should like to re-imagine it as a role-playing game campaign using Cubicle 7's Doctor Who RPG. (Go back one, to Sarah Jane Adventures Series 2.)

The GM
After Chris left, it was Russell, who had only every GMed the Torchwood campaign's first game, who picked up the reins. Already spread thin running the RPG club and winding down his Doctor Who campaign, he made the Torchwood players agree to an intense commitment over a short time span: A huge story that would take place over five days and would be played on five consecutive nights. With none of the player sure they would return for more, they also agreed the GM could blow up the status quo and that none of their characters were safe. The result was a mini-campaign titled Children of Earth in which powerful aliens would come asking for 10% of the world's children. Consequently, each of the original players is asked to invest in a family subplot.

The Players
-John of course returns to play Captain Jack, and creates an hitherto unknown daughter and grandson for the character.
-Gareth gives Ianto a sister with a husband and two children, but is also interested in exploring his character's relationship with Captain Jack and what it means for his sexual identity.
-Eve thinks it's enough that the GM has found someone to play her husband Rhys (an NPC before this), but the GM surprises her with the revelation that she's become pregnant!
-Kai is the guy brought in to play Rhys - there's room around the table with Naoko and Burn gone - and working from GM notes, finds the character right away. Kai's pretty adept at finding ways to use Rhys' limited skill set too.
-Torchwood needs to recruit after its big losses, so the GM invites a couple of players in to "audition". Rik shows up at the first session with Rupesh, a doctor who really works for the government and means to infiltrate the group. Things don't work out so well for him. Cush comes in on the second night with nosy IT girl Lois Habiba and manages to stick around for three whole sessions.

Children of Earth Day One. The marathon starts out like any other Torchwood scenario - a lot of banter between players, some creepy goings-on, etc. - but it all goes wrong when guest-player Rik gets his character shot and a bomb sewn into Captain Jack blows up the Hub permanently. Russell's clearly decided that this should be a desperate, bare bones, as little cool tech as possible kind of scenario!

Day Two.
Captain Jack spends most of the session regenerating and being encased in a block of concrete, so the crux of the adventure for the other players is getting their bearings and rescuing him. Two new players at the table infuse the session with vitality, especially Kai as Rhys, who probably gets more to do his first time out than in any subsequent session. Lois becomes an important character because she gives the gaming group insight into what the government's working on, what the aliens are and their plans to destroy Torchwood because of events far in the past (John knows Jack will somehow be/have been involved).

LOIS HABIBA
Attributes: Awareness 4, Coordination 2, Ingenuity 3, Presence 2, Resolve 3, Strength 2
Skills: Convince 3, Knowledge 2, Subterfuge 3, Technology 3, Transport 1
Traits: Argumentative, Attractive, Code of Conduct (Minor), Friends (Home Office, Torchwood), Technically Adept. Story Points: 12
Home Tech Level: 5 (Equipment: Contact lens cameras [Transmit])


Day Three. The players are hard at work rebuilding, getting the equipment and resources they need to continue playing, while much of the risk is assumed by rookie player Cush, given the spotlight, and those special Torchwood contact lenses and, through her own resourcefulness, access to the featured monster, the so-called "456". The GM makes the creature creepy as all get-out and gives it a creepier agenda still - demanding 10% of the world's children for use as narcotic delivery devices - and Jack is indeed forced into a flashback that makes his responsible for the gift of a dozen orphans to the 456 back in 1965. Longevity has its uses and its curses!

Day Four. The group goes into action and fails miserably. The GM did warn them there would be no fudging of rolls, no crazy expenditures of Story Points (something he was culpable of in his other games), and so things take a tragic turn and Ianto is killed. Gareth takes it like a man and gives everything he has to his death scene. A harsh lesson in going in half-cocked (and cocky). Meanwhile, Lois (and through her eyes, Gwen and Rhys) witness the monstrous script prepared by Russell in which politicians haggle over which children will be given up. Everybody goes home and takes a long shower.

THE 456
Attributes: Awareness 3, Coordination 2, Ingenuity 5, Presence 5, Resolve 3, Strength 4
Skills: Athletics 1, Convince 3 (AoE: Intimidation), Knowledge 3, Medicine 5, Science 5, Subterfuge 2, Survival 1, Technology 4
Traits: Additional Limbs (unclear), Alien, Alien Appearance (Major), Alien Organs, Bio-Chemical Genius, Dependency (Major; human children produce chemicals the 456 have become addicted to), Dependency (Major; the 456 do not breath oxygen as we do and need a specialized atmosphere), Fear Factor 3, Networked, Psychic, Repulsive, Selfish, Size: Huge (Minor), Telepathy (Special: The 456 can communicate through children, taking over all prepubescents on an entire planet, or beaming psychic energy at a single one; the telepathic bond can conceivably last forever once established, and may be used for two-way communication on the same frequency), Teleport, Transmit, Voice of Authority. Story Points: 6
Home Tech Level: 6


Day Five. The last night, Cush doesn't return, figuring her being jailed for treason is just as irrevocable as Ianto's death. And then there were three. Things get real desperate and no one feels safe. Gwen and Rhys are back in Cardiff trying to save Ianto's family, while Jack is left to do the science stuff. His solution is macabre: Use his own, recently-created grandson as a human transmitter to fry the 456 through its children network. At the end, John chooses to make the character leave Earth, running away from all the pain he's caused and suffered. Eve and Kai are left behind and WOULD like to play more Torchwood in the future, but everyone is so tired after five nights of gaming, it's not clear when that should happen or who would join them.

The hiatus would turn out to be a touch longer than usual...

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